Liverpool have tonight announced that Mario Balotelli will not contest his Football Association misconduct charge for re-communicating a message which included an anti-Semitic message, on Instagram.
It had been thought that the Italian – who has returned to training and is expected to be on the bench for his club at Manchester United this weekend – would challenge the governing body’s charge that he was in breach of their rule E3 by re-posting the message. But in a move which come as a relief to his club – who do not want to be plunged into a race controversy three years after Luis Suarez was convicted of racially abusing Patrice Evra - Balotelli has decided against a not-guilty plea.
The 24-year has responded to last Friday’s FA charge to say that he accepts it. But it is understood that he will be offering mitigation to the governing body’s disciplinary panel. This will be presented in the form of a written defence and the player will not request a personal hearing
Balotelli’s acceptance of the charge and the FA’s disciplinary process will weigh in his favour when the governing body comes to decide on his punishment, which may now be limited to a fine. QPR’s Rio Ferdinand’s three-match ban for a similar offence came after he aggravated the FA by declining to attend an FA hearing or make a submission. That appeared to be a failure to acknowledge the charge.
Balotelli will argue in his own defence that he thought the message he re-transmitted was an ironic strike at racism and that his own multi-cultural background has led him to speak up against racism, rather than propagate it. The message depicted the computer game character ‘Super Mario’ alongside a racial stereotype and anti-Semitic remark: “Jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew.”
Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Read the full story here.
After gambling at Manchester's 235 Casino, Balotelli walked away with winnings of £25,000. Feeling generous, he gave a homeless man 'with ginger dreadlocks and a beard' £1,000. Click here for the full story.
3/17 Parking fines
During his time in Manchester, Balotelli racked up £10,000 in parking fines and had his white Maserati impounded 27 times. Once he was pulled over by the police who wanted to enquire why he had £5,000 in cash on his front seat. Balotelli reorted: 'Because I am rich.' Click here for the full story.
Balotelli was 'bored', so threw darts at Manchester City youth team players to pass the time. Click here for the full story.
Balotelli explained prior to Euro 2012 how he would deal with racists: 'I will not accept racism at all. It's unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail, because I will kill them.'
In a pre-season friendly for AC Milan, two fans ran onto the pitch to demand a selfie with the striker. Rather than shy away like most would in such a situation, Balotelli was more than happy to oblige.
Mario isn't a one trick pony. He can also iron, dance and read - all at the same time. Click here to watch.
For reasons never fully explained, Balotelli once sported a chicken hat. Thankfully it was a trend that never caught on.
Getty Images; Sky News
A bright spark at the body that co-ordinates firework safety material enlisted Balotelli soon after it was reported that some had been set off in the bathroom of his Manchester mansion.
10/17 Why always me?
The day those stories emerged, Balotelli scored for City in the Manchester derby, giving him the perfect opportunity to reveal *that* t-shirt.
11/17 The Queen
The Queen may be wary of Balotelli's return to England. During the World Cup, he said he wanted a kiss from Her Royal Highness should Italy do England a favour by beating Costa Rica. Thankfully for everyone involved, they didn't.
During a Europa League defeat to Dynamo Kiev, Balotelli had to be substituted in the 57th minute with his face swelling up. It emerged afterwards that the Italian is allergic to some types of grass.
During an Inter Milan press conference to announce the appointment of Andrea Stramaccioni as interim-manager, Balotelli interrupted proceedings to say hello. He was enjoying a day-off from Manchester City at the time. Click here to watch.
Balotelli's naked torso was to be one of the defining images of Euro 2012 - but he's not overly keen on celebrating goals. 'I don't celebrate goals, I'm just doing my job,' he infamously said. 'Does a postman celebrate when he delivered the mail?'
Balotelli has always appeared to be well loved by his team-mates. Perhaps it's the pranks he plays, like this one on Edin Dzeko. Click here to watch.
Balotelli was reportedly questioned by police in Italy when he was found taking a look around the grounds of a women's prison in Brescia. Apparently he simply fancied having a look. Click here for the full story.
Balotelli's relationship with former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was a complicated one. It has been described as a father-and-son type relationship - only the sort where they fight each other during training.
EAMONN & JAMES CLARKE
Liverpool manager Rodgers said that Balotelli’s approach to work since returning to work this week had been good. “He has only just come back into training. We will see what his fitness is like [before considering him for Old Trafford]. In the last few days he has looked good in training.”
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